Monday, May 06, 2013

Ottawa-Montreal Game #3:

Habs Have Trouble Scoring on Innocuous Shots, Sens Do Not


Date: 05/05/2013
Opponent: Senators
Location: Ottawa

Loss: 1-6

Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Anderson (W)

Habs goalscorers: Bourque
Opposition goalscorers:Alfredsson, Pageau (3), Silfverberg, Turris

Play of the game

Speaking from the perspective of a fan in the opposition's lair, this was not a good game for the Habs. Even their goal was less exciting than it should have been, the accident that it was with delayed whistle and celebration. The highlight really has then to be the only other moment the Canadiens could possibly have scored. It comes down to Bourque again who broke from the blueline to the middle of the ice and showed that Anderson does get troubled by shots when taken from danger areas. Plekanec follows up with a swipe that hits the crossbar in a moment that sealed the fate of the team.

Dome hockey team

The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome


Rene Bourque
There is a player who Craig Anderson doesn't like to see coming down the ice and his name is Rene Bourque. He now has two goals and nearly set up that other one tonight. Get this guy into more scoring positions somehow. That's the plan.

Brendan Gallagher
He looked pretty poor on the first Pageau goal. But let's face it, he's the only player we look at and can really say he creates chances for his team on a consistent basis. He drew a slew of penalties in this one too and importantly the one that led to the only goal.

Michael Ryder
It's in games like these where I sometimes wonder what the rules of picking a dome are. Do I have to pick a third forward when I don't really want to. I think the standard set says that I do. After looking through all the players, I come up with Ryder as one that I don't have a significant beef with. He did not play particularly well at any point. But I did not that Ryder made perhaps the only hit in this game that made any difference to anything at all. He bowled someone over when the score was out of reach. I wondered where this was before of course, but thank goodness someone is capable of such a thing. Furthermore, Ryder always looms as a threat because of his shot. I like to think that if he could get passes sometime this month he'd score again.


Francis Bouillon
The guy is saddled with a rookie who looks like he just grew 6 inches yesterday, he's so awkward. He's asked to fight in the ridiculous 5-fight, 5-lost fights message-sending brawl. It's a thankless job for Bouillon. On a night when everyone else had moments to be perfectly ashamed of too, I give Bouillon credit for these sacrifices..

Andrei Markov
Another hard choice. With Subban getting phased out and checking out early on (from my view). With Gorges and Diaz making me constantly nervous, and with Tinordi looking criminally out of his depth, the mantle falls to Markov. This is a long way from the total game domination we saw in January. He makes a dome here for making a few good stick checks and making his usual collection of sensible passes.


Peter Budaj
You did not want to see this name. But how could I choose otherwise. 6 goals against, a back-breaker that should have been saved, followed by another where he buried his team with an overcommital. Wow, Carey was worse tonight than so many of those games where he plied his 0.8-somthing save percentage in April. Price was not the reason the team lost (that was a combination of Anderson and an unwillingness to really test Anderson), but he was the reason I had to sit through a third period in which the hop of a comeback was squashed a minute and a half in.

I can forcefully say Budaj would play next game if I were coach. I cannot bear to watch players shrug the way they have been after these goals. The way they can be at once deflated and fully expecting of this fate is an impossible state. The time to worry about rebuilding Carey Price into a goalie with a modicum of confidence will come. But the matter at hand is not the psyche or career of Carey Price but Game 4 of the playoffs. He's in a slump in which he thinks sprawling on his stomach without eyes on the puck is good practice. He's in a slump where his teammates are starting to believe any shot is a bad shot to allow (a very tiring place to inhabit for  defenceman). Give me Budaj for a game or two.

We want your votes on this dome too: SELECT YOUR DOME


This game was difficult to watch for much of it. The Canadiens treated us through two periods to a display of utter lack of imagination. At least through that we had hope for a good bounce.

Then the pin dropped, or rather the puck, in the third period. And as soon as it had began the Habs were in a hole of bigger and bigger proportions. The 3rd goal was a back-breaker, the 4th was totally deflating. The fights that followed were an embarrassment on several fronts.

If this was a one game series, this would be all bad news. The Canadiens were outclassed at every step of the way tonight. The good news is this. it matters not one iota what happened in Kanata for the game that is upcoming on Tuesday night. Any and all players could bounce back, several will.

And looking ahead is the right thing to do. Therrien must look ahead to ways in which he can influence the flow of the game through his choices, because he has done nothing of the sort so far. I'd still suggest the first simple step is to split Markov and Subban. Give me two pairs with a defender who puts a bit of fear in those whose sticks he takes it from. As well as that, he should look at his team and be honest. Pacioretty his best scorer has been absent, possibly from being undernourished with decent passes. Ryder and Bourque have both shown a predatory ability. Let them hunt. Gallagher has been great, could he rub off on someone else? Maybe look ahead too to a lineup that emphasizes skating and skill, because anyone can get outhit and lose all the fights anyway.

A win in the next game will give the Canadiens home ice advantage back, the momentum in the series and the confidence that they can bounce back from any amount of seeming devastation. Game 2 after Game 1 shows us there's no reason to believe this can't be reversed.

All those keys to the series come to the fore now. Can Therrien adapt? Can Montreal defend without Emelin? Can Price (or perhaps more appropriately any Montreal goalie) outperform his counterpart?

The first minutes of Tuesday will be telling. It should be fun.

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